..::|:.: Scattered Words

"in brokeness, I could see, that this was your will for me..." :: Jeremy Camp

6.16.2004

Moved.

The new site is ready for you all to start reading. http://scatteredwords.com. Please let me know of any bugs you come across, as I'll be doing a lot of work over the next couple of days.

A couple of notes:
-All the old posts are there, but they are not all completely "functional" -- some links are missing and the formatting has been stripped. I'll fix them when I can.
-I don't have a good easy way to export the haloscan comments, and then import to the new database as far as I know, so I won't be.
-After today, commenting here will be shut down. If I can, I'll leave all the comments intact.
-Commenting at the new site require registration with typekey. It's painless. If you don't want to register, you can still comment but for now, I have to approve the unregistered comments before they're posted (I think I only have to "approve" you once). Registered users can comment with no wait.
-Not all of the archives / indexes are fully functional. As I get time, they will be.
-The new site will more than likely be ad-supported to pay for hosting and bandwidth costs. The blogroll and links will be back, I just haven't had time to add them yet.

Again, please update your links and bookmarks, and let me know of troubles so I can get to fixin' them.

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When.

When there are no more bathhouses, no more gay bars and clubs with "backrooms", no more websites dedicated to cruising and random hookups, etc., etc., etc, then I won't be able to write about those things. When the homosexuality stops revolving predominantly around sex, then...

I know a lot you want to deny my experiences and my observations, that you don't want people to hear what I have to say. Just because you don't like or don't believe its the majority / norm doesn't diminish my right to say it.

I know a lot of you want to believe that what I say isn't true. But I suspect you wouldn't fight so hard if you didn't half believe it.

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6.15.2004

Bathhouses.

I was reading Tony's blog today, Hoshaw. He has a post about a pretty famous bathhouse, SteamWorks, which is in Chicago (there's a couple actually, but he's referring to the Chicago one). I'm suprised that a guy who goes to seminary would be comfortable using a church metaphor to describe a bathhouse (I think he's just repeating a common euphemism, but still). He goes on to describe the bathhouse, but I think he leaves a few things out. I'm going to add my own thoughts here, based on what I've experienced (not only to work through it, but to offer a slightly different interpretation).

Tony's physical description pretty much matches what almost every bathhouse across the country looks like (I've found a few that are pretty "high class" -- but for the most part, they're pretty dingy). A plain facade, a secured entryway and a little man behind a glass booth (but even the pizza place down the street from me is covered in bullet-proof glass).

The worst one I've ever been to is here in DC. It's wholly unsecured, located in a horrible part of town (not that there are "great" parts of DC) and extremely run down. I went once and decided that getting mugged on my way up the street was not a happy thing.

But there's more to these places than just how they look.

That atmosphere is oppressive. There's rarely any talking (except, maybe the common, or non-sex, areas); communication is handled non-verbally, mainly with the eyes. If you like a guy, you make eye contact. Mistaken eye contact is best avoided, as it could send the wrong guy the wrong signal.

Then the chase beings. You generally follow each other around, until you find a place that you can meet up (with an easy out, in case of that mistaken eye contact thing I mentioned). Depending on the guy, it's usually a public place, like the sauna or steam room or hot tub or showers or whatever. Most bathhouses have private rooms, but there are usually lots of public areas designated for sex.

There are some guys who don't wait for eye signals, though. They move in without "permission" and don't really know how to take no for an answer. I've had to physically pull a guy's hands off of me more than once.

I have been in some bathhouses that restrict sexual activitiy to certain areas (or certain areas at certain times), but most are basically open free for alls -- any place, any time.

I had invited one guy to my "private room" one night, and quickly regretted the decision. He was a little too rough and though I told him to stop, he really didn't seem to care. I ended up kicking him through the door just to get him off me. The owners were sympathetic and he ended up paying to fix the broken door jam.

But that's the extreme it's rarely violent. Most of the guys were nice enough (you kind of have to be, especially if you're hoping for sex) and I've never felt awkward or embarrassed while inside.

But drug use, very public and group sex, little to no condom use -- those are not the extremes, they've been the norm in every bathhouse I've been in across the country.

I normally went on weekends, so the places were always packed -- hundreds of guys, usually. They almost always had dress codes (a towel, basically) and some had rules as to where nudity was permitted, but not all.

The staff varied from place to place. I always wondered what they'd tell people when asked what they did for a living. I'm pretty sure most places have a strict no sex on the job policy, but I've had a couple of workers ask me to wait for them until their shifts ended. I couldn't imagine working in a bathhouse.

So, despite all that. I still went. I went a lot. And I've said before, I miss it sometimes. I don't know why -- it's not like there was ever any real connection with anyone. But sometimes I'll hear music or smell something that reminds me of some bathhouse I've been in.

And the strongest temptations for me right now, are these places. I know they're there, ready and waiting. And they'll always be there. Always. I pray I never see the inside of one again.

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6.14.2004

Smooth Sailing.

Not a lot to say right now. I've been working a lot, and thus, occupied (which always seems to be good -- being idle leads to temptation which leads to trouble which leads too...).

I was reading this forum tonight -- I've been skimming it since they started talking about me a week or so ago, but the conversation has taken on a life of its own. There was one poster, who simply noted that she/he knew someone in "real life" who had claimed to have left homosexuality. And that poster promptly got the crap kicked out of her/him. And she/he got kicked over and over and over again.

Now I've noticed that no one's really posted a definitive or though-out reponse to this person. They've just ranted and raved and bashed. No one for a moment has given him/her any credence, that what they're saying could actually be true* -- I don't know, I take people's defensiveness as a good sign. It means a nerve is being hit and when someone responds out with anger from anger, fear isn't usually hard behind. It tells me they're more afraid of people like me being right than they let on. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- there are some out there that *need* me to be wrong.

*at least as far as I'v read. I've only really skimmed the posts.

Moving.

I've made the decision to move to a dedicated web address and start using Movabletype to manage the site content. The import from blogger went okay, but I have a lot of work to do to restore the links and some formatting to the posts. This site will continue to run as a mirror to the MT site indefinitely; I'll continue to update here the same as the other site, but commenting will be shut down at some point and users who want to comment will be redirected to the MT site. So, in other words, you don't have to do anything right now. Just wanted to give everyone a heads up.

6.13.2004

Amazed.

I've received some really great e-mails tonight. They've been overwhelimingly uplifiting and encouraging, which is so not the norm. I normally don't quote e-mails, as I like to keep those private, but I want to quote this one part (since he was quoting someone else, I don't think he'll mind):

"Sexually abused children not only face an assault on their developing sense of their sexual identity, but a blow to their construction of the world as a safe enough environment and their developing sense of others as trustworthy. In those abused by someone with whom they had a close relationship, the impact is likely to be all the more profound."

I've been wholly amazed at how desperate some have seemed to convince me that prior sexual abuse as a kid had nothing to do with my sexual development, or my "orientation" now.

It's from a site called the National Child Protection Clearinghouse. I find it more amazing that so many have dismissed any link between abuse and adult sexual identity, particularly in my case, without knowning the extent of the abuse I suffered or how I reacted as a child. I don't know why the idea that this could've played a major part in my sexual development is so threatening.

Okay, down off the soapbox. There's a lot to read at that site, and I've only skimmed it. It seems pretty interesting, though.